As per the request of Hon. Douglas Devananda, Minister of Fisheries in Sri Lanka, a special virtual meeting with Tamil Nadu Fishermen was organized by the Deputy High Commission of Sri Lanka in Chennai. About 10 representatives from Fisheries Associations in several districts of Tamil Nadu participated in this meeting and expressed their concerns on disputes among the fishermen and the local authorities of both countries, prohibition of bottom trawling in the region, auctioning of Indian boats in Sri Lanka and limitation of number of pilgrims from Southern India for the Annual festival of St. Anthony’s Church at Katchatheevu. Replying them, Hon. Minister highlighted the importance of such a joint venture for a sustainable solution for the fisheries dispute between Sri Lanka & India. He stated that bottom trawling cannot be permitted to practice, as it is prohibited in Sri Lanka. While explaining about the auctioning of Indian Fishing Vessels in Sri Lanka he mentioned that in 2020, the Indian High Commission in Colombo has informed all Government Stakeholders and fisheries communities in Tamil Nadu to retrieve their boats. But due to lack of responses for that, Indian High Commission in Colombo has requested Sri Lankan Authorities organized the auction. Further he mentioned that number of Indian participants for Katchatheevu Festival is limited due to rising Covid-19 Pandemic situation and agreed to seek the possibility of increasing the number of participants. In his discussion Hon. Minister mentioned about the proposal that Sri Lanka has shared with Hon. Prime Minister and Hon. Foreign Minister of India on eliminating fisheries disputes between two Countries. But both parties were unable to pay a proper attention on that due to Covid-19 Pandemic situation which both parties got affected. Deputy High Commissioner Dr. D. Venkateshwaran and officials of the Sri Lanka Deputy High Commission in Chennai also participated the meeting.
Deputy High Commission of Sri Lanka